Dar es Salaam. Good morning! The Chanzo is here with a rundown of major news stories reported in Tanzania on Monday.
Samia: Let me fix the economy first, New Constitution will follow next
President Samia Suluhu Hassan asked Tanzanians yesterday to give her more time to fix the country’s economy first before she can allow the banned political rallies to resume as well as embarking on reviving the stalled New Constitution process. The Head of State made the remarks during a meeting with editors of major Tanzania media outlets that took place at the State House, Dar es Salaam.
The late President John Magufuli imposed the ban on political rallies in early 2016, saying that they were distracting him from delivering what he had promised Tanzanians in the campaign trails. Though the ban was termed illegal and unconstitutional, police enforced the ban viciously and it was responsible for various criminal cases brought against opposition politicians in the past four years. As for the 2014-proposed New Constitution draft, the document has been on the shelves for about seven years now waiting for a referendum that the Magufuli administration declined to organize.
“When time arrives, we will deal with the issue of the New Constitution and [the lifting of the ban on] political rallies,” said President Samia candidly. “But right now we do allow political parties to organize meetings with their people and I think you see that. Many of [these meetings] are internal ones [involving] Central Committees meetings of respective political parties. Members of Parliament also are free to organize rallies in their respective constituencies. But [we will not allow] an MP to move from his/her constituency and go to organize a rally in another MP’s constituency
“I’m not saying [the New] Constitution is not important. It is important. But please give me some more time so that I can stabilize Tanzania economically and then the rest will follow. They say economic power buys political power, isn’t it? So let us build our economy first and then we will move towards fixing our politics.”
CHADEMA national chairperson Freeman Mbowe described President Samia’s statements as “very very sad.” Writing on his Twitter timeline, Mr Mbowe said: “It is possible that you and your advisors do not understand the pain that we have gone through under the five years of your predecessor. This is exactly why we demanded you listen to us from very early on. [Yesterday’s] statements make us sleep with tears.”
On the global coronavirus pandemic, President Samia reiterated her earlier calls to Tanzanians to take all necessary precautions to prevent the spread of the deadly disease. The Head of State revealed that currently Tanzania has more than 100 COVID-19 patients, saying 70 of them were on oxygen therapy.
“We have $470 million to order vaccines and equipment to use in the fight against Coronavirus,” said the president in response to a journalist’s question on how the government was prepared to fight the pandemic, adding that the vaccines will not be mandatory and only who want it will receive the shots.
The meeting, co-organized by Tanzania Editors Forum (TEF), is the first between President Samia and editors and took place as part of the commemoration of Samia’s 100 days in office. President Samia described editors as “one among the most important groups in Tanzania,” saying that the press is essential in maintaining national unity, national security as well as in catalyzing development activities.
TEF chairperson Deodatus Balile identified key challenges that face the Tanzania media landscape, urging President Samia to resolve some of the key challenges that directly requires government intervention. Some of the issues mentioned include the poor financial situation of most media outlets in Tanzania, a situation Balile said was partly thanks to the government’s “silent policy” that private media outlets should be denied government’s advertisements.
Balile also spoke of Tanzania’s legal framework and how it is impacting the media sector, urging President Samia to consider stakeholders’ opinions and amend the laws accordingly.
Court sets free CHADEMA activist Mdude Nyagali
The Resident Magistrate’s Court of Mbeya yesterday set free activist Mdude Nyagali who was accused of drug trafficking after the court found that the prosecution failed to present sufficient evidence with which to convict the member of opposition party CHADEMA.
The thirty-three-year-old Nyagali, one of the most vocal critics of the John Magufuli Administration before he was arrested, faced life imprisonment after the government accused him of being involved in drugs trafficking, which is a violation of Section 15A (1) of the Drug Control and Enforcement Act, No. 5 of 2005. Since he was formally charged on May 13, 2020, Nyagali had been in remand prison as the charges are non-bailable. An intensive online campaign was launched by CHADEMA and other activists aimed at pressurizing the Samia Suluhu Hassan Administration to let Nyagali free, calling the charges against him “trumped-up,” which target Nyagali for his political activities.
Addressing journalists and his supporters outside the court immediately after his acquittal, Mr Nyagali said: “Let me first and foremost tell you all that today is the day of gratitude. You’ll be updated on when exactly I’ll explain everything [because] I’m very keen on doing that. [But] firstly, I’d like to thank God. Let me tell you that my God is very powerful. He’s greater than [the Tanzania] Police Force. He’s greater than any president in the world. Even if all dictators in the world have joined forces, they wouldn’t be able to defeat my God. I also thank the judiciary for ensuring that justice prevails. I’ll tell you more in the coming few days what needs to be done to make [serving the justice] part of the judiciary’s culture and not just the wisdom of the leaders in power.”
The dropped charges came after Nyagali had spent a total of 380 days in remand prison following the case that itself was brought against him a few days after the fearless activist had just survived an abduction by unknown assailants that saw him missing for three days before he was abandoned in one of Mbeya’s villages showing signs of being tortured, mistreated, and humiliated.
Man arrested for killing his fiancée in Geita
Police in Geita region are investigating the murder of Ester John, 28, who was allegedly killed by her fiancé whose name was not released. The killing took place after Ester’s parents failed to meet the demands the man had made, wanting them to compensate him all the costs he had incurred in providing for Ester. It was not immediately established why the man demanded such a compensation.
Geita regional police commander was quoted by Mwananchi newspaper yesterday saying that on June 13, 2021, Ester left home with her supposedly fiancé whom after a couple of days started to call Ester’s parents back home, demanding he be compensated the money he had spent in providing for the woman.
Ester’s parents reported the matter to the police who eventually arrested the fiancé with some of Ester’s belongings, who confessed to have killed her and burry her in Masota village, Bukombe.
Tanzania reinforces its anti-poaching rapid response
Tanzania Wildlife Management Authority (TAWA) is planning to reinforce the anti-poaching rapid response team in the country’s game protected areas, Xinhua reported Monday.
The Chinese press agency quoted TAWA’s principal conservation officer John Kaaya who said that the response team will work in collaboration with ordinary game rangers deployed in the country’s wildlife protected areas.
Kaaya made the remarks when closing a two-month training course of the anti-poaching rapid response team in Singida region.
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